بشکه آمونتیلادو

مجموعه: کتاب های فوق متوسط / کتاب: داستانهایی از راز و تخیل / درس 5

کتاب های فوق متوسط

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بشکه آمونتیلادو

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متن انگلیسی درس

The Barrel of Amontillado

I had suffered, as best I could, the thousand wrongs that Fortunato had done to me, but when he turned to insults, I swore that I would get revenge. I did not, of course, let any threat pass my lips. I waited for my chance patiently. I wanted to avoid the risk of failure; and if revenge is to succeed, two conditions are necessary. The wrongdoer must know that he is being punished, and by whom; and it must be impossible for him to hit back.

I continued to treat Fortunato kindly and to smile in his face.

He did not realize that my smile was at the thought of his death.

Fortunato had one weakness, although he was, on the whole, a man to be respected and even feared. He was very proud of his knowledge of wine. On other subjects, he just pretended to be wise, but in the matter of wine he was sincere. We shared this interest. I knew a great deal about Italian wines myself, and bought large amounts whenever I could.

My chance came one evening during the holiday season. We met in the street. He had been drinking heavily, and he greeted me very warmly. He was dressed for the traditional celebrations, in a striped suit and a tall, pointed hat with bells. I was so pleased to see him that I thought I should never finish shaking his hand.

I said, ‘My dear Fortunato, how lucky I am to meet you today.

I have received a barrel of what claims to be Amontillado, but I have my doubts.’

‘Amontillado?’ he said. ‘A barrel? Impossible! And in the middle of the celebrations!’

‘I have my doubts,’ I replied; ‘and I was foolish enough to pay the full Amontillado price without asking you for advice. I could not find you, and I was afraid of losing it.’

‘Amontillado!’

‘I have my doubts, and I would like to be sure.’

‘Amontillado!’

‘As you are busy, I am on my way to Luchesi. He will be able to tell me …’

‘Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from any other kind of wine.’

‘But some fools say that his taste is a match for your own.’

‘Come, let us go to your wine store.’

‘My friend, no. Perhaps you have nothing to do, but I see that you have a very bad cold. My wine store is far below the ground, and it is very cold and wet there.’

‘Let us go, anyway. The cold is nothing. Amontillado! You have been deceived. And as for Luchesi, he cannot tell a Spanish from an Italian wine.’

Fortunato took my arm. I put on a mask of black silk, and, turning up the high collar of my coat, I allowed him to hurry me to my house.

My servants were not at home. I had told them that I would not return until the morning, and had given them strict orders not to leave the house. I knew that these orders were enough to make them all disappear as soon as my back was turned.

I took two lamps from their stands, and, giving one to Fortunato, led him through to a long, narrow staircase. At the foot of this, deep underground, was the place where all the members of the Montresor family were buried. And there too, among the graves, was the family wine store.

My friend’s walk was unsteady, and the bells on his cap rang as he moved.

‘The barrel?’ he said; and started coughing suddenly.

‘It is further on,’ I said. ‘How long have you had that cough?’

My poor friend was unable to answer me for several minutes.

‘It is nothing,’ he said, at last.

‘Come,’ I said firmly, ‘we will go back. Your health is important. You are rich, respected, admired, loved; you are happy, as I was once. You will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. We will go back. There is always Luchesi …’

‘Enough,’ he said, ‘the cough is nothing. It will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.’

‘True - true,’ I replied. ‘I did not wish to frighten you — but you should take care. Here, a drink of this will help keep the cold out.’

I opened a bottle of fine old wine which I took from a long row that lay on the floor.

‘Drink,’ I said, handing him the wine.

He raised it to his lips with a smile. ‘I drink,’ he said, ‘to the dead that lie around us.’

‘And I to your long life.’

He took my arm again, and we went on.

‘This place,’ he said, ‘is very large.’

‘The Montresors,’ I replied, ‘were a great family, and large in number.’

The wine made his eyes shine, and the bells on his hat ring.

We had passed between long walls of piled-up bones - the ancient remains of my family. We passed row after row of bottles and barrels.

‘The air feels wetter here,’ I said. ‘We are below the river bed.’

I opened another bottle of wine and handed it to him. He emptied it almost at once. His eyes flashed. He laughed and threw the bottle over his shoulder.

‘Let us see the Amontillado,’ he said.

‘Yes, the Amontillado,’ I replied.

We went on down some steep steps, and finally reached a deep cave. Here the air was so bad that our lamps gave far less light than before. At the end of this cave, another smaller one appeared. Its walls had been piled to the roof with human remains, as the custom was many years ago. Three sides of this further cave were still decorated in this way. The bones had been thrown down from the fourth side, and lay in a pile on the floor. This wall showed another opening, about four feet deep and three wide, six or seven in height, which had been cut into the solid rock. The faint light from our lamps did not allow us to see into this small space.

‘Go in,’ I said;’the Amontillado is in here. As for Luchesi -‘

‘He is a fool,’ interrupted my friend, as he stepped unsteadily forward and climbed in, while I followed close behind. In a moment he had reached the far wall, and found his progress stopped by the rock. He stood still, confused, and wondering what to do. A moment later I had chained him to the rock. In its surface were two iron rings about two feet apart. A short chain hung from one of these, and a lock from the other. Throwing the chain around his waist, I turned the key in the lock in a few seconds. He was too surprised to react. Taking out the key, I stepped back to the entrance.

‘Feel the wall,’ I said. ‘It is really very wet. Once more let me beg you to return. No? Then I must leave you. But I must first do all I can to keep out the cold air from your little room.’

‘The Amontillado!’ cried my friend in his confusion.

‘Yes,’ I replied; ‘the Amiontillado.’

I walked across to the pile of bones in the middle of the floor.

Throwing them to one side, I uncovered a quantity of building stone and some tools. With these I began to build a wall across the entrance to the little space.

I had laid the first row of stones, and had started the second, when a low cry came from inside; and this was followed by a wild shaking of the chain. The noise lasted for several minutes. I stopped work, and sat down on the stones in order to listen to it with more satisfaction. When at last the chain became silent, I continued my work, completing the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rows of stones, without interruption. The wall was now up to the level of my chest. I paused again, and held my lamp over the stonework, letting its weak beam fall on the figure inside.

Violent cries burst suddenly from the throat of the chained figure. They seemed to force me back from the wall. For a moment I stopped, I trembled; but I remained firm. I went on with my work. I shouted back at him. I repeated every sound he made — but louder. I did this, and at last he grew quiet.

It was now midnight, and I had reached the eleventh row — the last row — of stones. In a few minutes only a single stone remained to be fitted in. I struggled with its weight. I placed it partly in position. But now there came from inside a low laugh that made the hairs stand on my head. It was followed by a sad voice, which I could hardly recognize as that of Fortunato. The voice said:’Ha! ha! ha! — a very good joke — an excellent joke. We shall have a good laugh about it — he! he! he! — over our wine!’

‘The Amontillado!’ I said.

‘Ha! ha! ha! — yes, the Amontillado. But is it not getting late?

They will be waiting for us — Lady Fortunato and the rest. Let us go.’

‘Yes,’ I said,’let us go.’

‘For the love of God, Montresor!’

‘Yes,’ I said,’for the love of God!’

There was no reply to this. I called and called again; and at last I heard a ringing of the bells on his hat. My heart grew sick; it was the bad air down there that was affecting me, of course. I forced the last stone into position. I piled the bones up again, against the new wall. For half a century no one has moved them.

Rest in peace!

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